personality changes

5 Personality Changes That Occur in Opiate Addicts

With the American Opioid Crisis showing no signs of slowing down, there’s more of a chance than ever before that you know someone who has become addicted to this horrific class of drugs. 

You may find it hard to reconcile the person you once knew — a happy, loving, and successful individual — with the addict who is in your life today. You know that their true self, the person they were before their addiction, is still inside of them somewhere. 

You miss that person dearly, and it feels like you’d do anything to be able to bring them back

If you’ve noticed and been hurt by the often drastic personality changes of an opioid addict, you’re not alone — and help is available for both you and the addict you care about. 

In this post, we’ll tell you about some of the most common behavioral changes you can expect to experience. This may also be helpful in understanding whether or not someone in your life is currently abusing opioids. 

1. Increased Lying and Secretiveness

One of the earliest personality changes that you may notice is constant, sometimes ludicrous, lying. 

It doesn’t matter if the addict has been caught red-handed, or if there are a hundred different ways you can verify the fact that they’re not telling the truth. 

The addict will continue to lie, often turning their issues around on you and accusing you of lying or of “interrogating” and “not trusting” them. 

This will soon escalate to secretiveness. 

They used to lie about where they were going and who they were with. Now, they sneak out of the house when you’re asleep or when you’re not home. They stay up in their rooms for long periods of time, they don’t pick up the phone, and they never offer any details about their plans. 

2. They Become Selfish

Another erratic personality trait that you’ll likely notice in the opioid addict? 

They become incredibly selfish. 

If you can’t lend them money, drive them to a drug deal, or let them sleep in your home? You’re the worst parent in the world, you’re a horrible spouse, or you’re a child that never appreciated everything the addict sacrificed for you. 

In some cases, their selfish behavior will directly impact, inconvenience, or even harm or risk the safety of other people. 

They don’t care that they didn’t make it into work, that they missed their daughter’s ballet recital, or that they drove high out of their minds. Their ability to think about the needs of others or the consequences of their actions is gone. 

Instead, they only care about one thing: getting their next fix. 

3. They’re Depressed and Anxious 

One of the biggest commonalities between opioid addicts and alcoholic behaviors and attitude is an overwhelming sense of depression in the addict. 

Often, they talk about feeling worthless and hopeless. They say they know they’re a burden and that everyone would be better off without them. They feel it’s “too late” to turn their lives around. 

They may isolate themselves, socially withdraw, and refuse to accept invitations from old friends. They don’t enjoy their hobbies and passions anymore. They may even make outright threats about killing themselves. 

Additionally, they may seem extremely anxious, almost to the point of paranoia. They don’t trust you, they’re convinced that people are “out to get them,” and they may even speak in a nervous, fast, and erratic manner. 

4. They’re Angry and Abusive 

Anger is one of the most difficult personality changes in an opioid addict. 

You and other loved ones likely feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around the addict — and you never can tell what’s going to set them off. They scream, cry, and rage over the smallest things, and you’ve never seen this level of anger from them before. 

It’s scary. And more often than not, it can escalate into very real abuse. 

This abuse can be both physical and emotional, and it’s especially devastating when young children are involved. 

There is no reason for you to remain in an abusive situation. You have every right to get out and to protect yourself and other innocent people first. 

Often, it’s this kind of abusive behavior that causes friends and family members to come up with ultimatums and boundaries to present to the addict.

This usually takes place during an intervention, right before encouraging the opioid addict to seek help

5. They Indulge in Risk-Taking Behaviors

Before they became addicted to opioids, the person you knew would never have done things like trade sex for money, experiment with other drugs, or drain their bank account in a single night. 

But that’s exactly the kind of person the addict in your life has become. 

They’re constantly doing risky things and behaving impulsively. 

They may decide to hop a train in the middle of the night, enter into a dangerous relationship, allow themselves to be physically and/or emotionally abused, or hang out in seedy areas. 

If they have other health conditions, they may stop taking their medications. 

They just don’t care anymore, and it seems like they no longer have any limits. 

Are These Personality Changes Familiar to You?

If you have an addict in your life, then we suspect that many of these devastating personality changes will be familiar to you. 

You may have experienced just a few of these changes, or all of them. 

No matter what, you know one thing for sure: you want it to stop, and you want the person you love back. 

We can help to make that happen. 

We offer excellent rehab and drug treatments for a variety of addictions. When you’re ready to help your loved one get back on track, reach out to us on behalf of your loved one to learn how to get started. 


Opioids and Depression

Could Your Opioid Addiction be Caused by Depression?

Addiction is very complex. There are so many factors that can contribute to the development of a substance use problem. But, it’s very common to find that individuals who are dealing with an addiction problem are also suffering from a mental health disorder. In fact, it’s been reported that over 40% of those who have a problem with substance use also have a mental health disorder.

Depression, also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is one of the most common types of mental health disorders that affect people who have alcohol or drug addictions. This particular disorder impacts thousands, even millions, of lives every year. And it most certainly has made a name for itself amongst the population of those addicted to drugs.

In some cases, clinical depression leads to substance dependence and addiction. You see, many individuals use opioid prescriptions which are generally designed to treat moderate to severe pain. As a result of continued and excessive opioid use, some people become dependent on opioids. Some may also develop an addiction to these substances.

If you’ve been suffering from an opioid addiction problem, it’s possible that depression is one of the main causes of your struggle. If so, you’re not alone; there are many others who are suffering from the co-occurring disorders of addiction and depression. Thankfully, though, there is hope through professional treatment!

How are Depression and Opioid Addiction Connected?

Again, some people begin using opioid medication as recommended by a medical professional. After using these medications for a while, individuals may develop a tolerance for these substances. This means that their bodies become so used to the effects of the opioid medications that individuals need to use a higher dosage in order to get the desired result.

As people build tolerance for opioids, their bodies begin to depend on the substance. It becomes difficult for them to function or feel normal without using opioids. After a while, they may even become addicted to the drugs, having an uncontrollable craving for them.

In other cases, people may begin to use opioids to treat pain in their bodies and, after using these medications, develop clinical depression.

When a person is suffering from both depression and opioid addiction, the co-occurring disorders tend to impact one another, making the effects of each one even worse. In other words, people who struggle with clinical depression may become even more involved in substance abuse. And an individual who is suffering from an opioid addiction problem may become more deeply depressed over time.

The Challenges of Living With Depression

Unfortunately, people who are suffering from depression often feel hopeless and helpless. If you are dealing with the effects of major depressive disorder in your life, you know how difficult it can be to live with depressive disorder. It’s challenging to communicate what you’re experiencing and connect with your loved ones.

Depression deprives people of the happiness they deserve, often causing individuals to feel discouraged and downhearted for days, weeks, years, and even months at a time.

Sometimes, people who are dealing with clinical depression lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. The things they were passionate about seem to become completely unimportant to them as they feel overwhelmed by the effects of depression.

Individuals who suffer from clinical depression frequently have feelings of loneliness. They may isolate and distance themselves from the people who care about them. In most situations, people who are living with depression feel trapped, as if they can’t break free.

The pressure and discomfort of living with depression often cause people to turn to things that may give them at least temporary relief. Sadly, many individuals resort to alcohol use. Others may turn to drugs, such as opioids.

Many may become dependent on opioid medication, such as Vicodin or OxyContin. Other individuals may begin to use illicit forms of the drug, such as heroin.

It’s common to believe that illicit drug use and addiction are more harmful and dangerous than the problems people develop after using prescription opioids. But, the truth is that any type of substance abuse can lead to very serious effects.

So, whether you are struggling with an addiction to prescription medication or an illicit drug like heroin, it’s important to seek professional help right away.

When You’re Dealing With Depression and Addiction

On its own, the battle against depression is extremely overwhelming and challenging. Those who are dealing with clinical depression often struggle to find comfort and peace. Relief is extremely hard to find.

So, again, many people attempt to find it in drugs or alcohol. Opioid use is certainly a common problem amongst those who are dealing with depression. Even though these substances may seem to help relieve the pressures and symptoms of depression, they can be extremely harmful to those who abuse them and become addicted to them.

Opioid use can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Breathing problems

If a person continues to use opioid drugs and become dependent on or addicted to them, he or she might lose control over the drug use. As a result of this uncontrollable use of opioids, many individuals find themselves at risk for overdose.

Opioids tend to slow down one’s breathing. So, after a person uses an excessive amount of opioids, the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain will decrease. This can lead to unconsciousness and a state of coma. It’s possible that the individual will suffer from permanent brain damage. But, the results can also be fatal. So, it’s important to end opioid abuse and addiction as soon as possible in order to avoid an overdose.

Help is Available at Our Pompano Beach Treatment Center!

If you are struggling with opioid addiction and depression, there is hope for you. You don’t have to feel bound by these issues any longer. Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we offer professional detox and treatment programs for those who are suffering from addiction.

If you want to become free from substance abuse, please contact us by calling (866) 319-6126.


The Nature and Nurture of Addiction

We often hear people describe certain things as being in their genes. While it’s true that our genes describe many of our attributes, it is rarely the case that something has a specific one. Usually traits are expressed by a combination of genes. This means we are unlikely to ever find a specific “addiction gene“. A person with a family history of addiction is more likely to be susceptible to substance abuse–but they are not predestined for it and can avoid it. Similarly, a person with no family history of drug abuse can become addicted depending on their life circumstances. Ultimately, it comes down to both nature and nurture.



Let’s be clear: everyone has some potential for addiction, it’s hardwired into our biology. But some people have a familial predisposition for it that others might not have. Often this goes beyond just drugs and alcohol and may express itself in compulsive eating, hoarding, and even codependency.

For those of us with that predisposition, every time we use drugs or alcohol, it reinforces the brain’s “wiring” that increases our reliance on them. It doesn’t mean that every child of an alcoholic parent is destined to repeat their path–but it does warrant extreme caution.



Nurture is many things. It includes the environment we grow up in, and how safe we feel. A person who might not have a family history of addiction might still find themselves on a bad path. Often, people without the family history can find themselves in trouble because their guard is down and they think it can’t happen to them.

If you’re a parent, you need to take extreme care to create a secure environment for your children, especially if there’s a family history of substance abuse. Call us at (866) 319-6126 to learn more about what options are available in South Florida to provide a clean and sober place to detox in, regardless of what the family nature may be.

Opioids: From Start to Finish

You’ve seen Trainspotting, you’ve seen House, probably several other shows with painful withdrawals from heroin or prescription painkillers. But what’s the reality? What are opioids and what’s the big deal?



Opioids are a type of drug that includes substances such as heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone among others. In America some opioids are illegal while others are prescribed. Some are derived from the opium poppy while others are synthetic with similar traits.

The human body naturally produces a small quantity of opioids. It does this for a variety of reasons such as naturally fighting pain or depression. So, when a refined version of the drug is created, it can naturally attach to the receptors of the nervous system. Too much use of this drug can create dependence, and increased tolerance, and even an overdose. Although many people’s lives have been saved by limited use of drugs like morphine, the addictive nature of opioids causes major problems for many others.



A person going off opioids should do so with the help of a doctor and rehabilitation professionals. There are many challenges which complicate getting clean and that’s why it should be done sooner rather than later. Withdrawal from oxycodone and other opioids can create physical sickness, diarrhea, and even a risk of a heart attack.


Different drugs remain in a user’s system for longer and this affects detox time. Withdrawal symptoms for heroin may start within only 12 hours from the last use while methadone may take a day and a half to start.


When working with a rehabilitation program, a person can have a safe and supervised detox. They can also meet with peers who have successfully gone clean. One of the most important things they can do is learn the tools necessary to create a new lifestyle—a lifestyle that helps them avoid a relapse.


To learn more about what options you or a loved one has to detox from an opioid, contact us today.


Withdrawal Symptoms of Oxycodone

Withdrawing from oxycodone—also called OxyContin, Roxicodone, or Percocet—is not easy. It can even be painful. However, there are many people eager to help and in some circumstances medication is available to ease the transition to clean living. But you do not have to go oxycodone through withdrawal alone. Properly-trained medical professionals and rehab specialists are available to help you beat the addiction and help you get clean safely.

Common Symptoms

Common Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Chills or goosebumps
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps and/or fever
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Intense cravings
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • A running nose
  • A high fever and sweating
  • Tearing eyes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Yawning

The severity of these effects vary greatly depending on several factors. These include how long and how much a person was using. Symptoms are also affected by a person’s general health.



The road to recovery is no walk in the park. Not only are withdrawal symptoms challenging, there are other potential complications. These include a serious risk of overdosing because of a change in tolerance, circulatory problems, and even a heart attack. It sounds serious because it is, but it is better to get on the right path now, with trained professional support. Waiting may only make things worse.


Oxycodone can be incredibly challenging to withdraw from which is why it’s important to not do it on your own. There are many people who are ready and willing to help you in this process. From family and friends, to support groups, to doctors, you don’t need to go through this alone.


By seeking help to deal with your addiction, you are decreasing your chance of relapse. Call us at (866) 319-6126 to learn  what options are available for you or your loved one.


Why Does Vicodin Lead to Heroin Addiction?

One of the things that can be confusing about addiction and the way it progresses is that there is a link between certain drugs. There are many people who laugh when they hear the term “gateway drug,” but gateway drugs do exist in a certain capacity. Vicodin is one of them. Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs on the market, and Vicodin can absolutely lead the way to heroin abuse. But how does this happen? Here’s a rundown of how Vicodin leads to heroin addiction.



As it turns out, Vicodin is a part of the opioid class of drugs, as is Heroin. Opioids are chemicals that can interface with opioid receptors in the brain, digestive tract, and spinal column. Chemically and medically, they’re used mainly for pain relief, but like other pain relievers and chemicals can be, opioids are addictive. Whether you take something prescribed by a doctor, like OxyContin or Vicodin, or something clearly illegal like heroin, each of these chemicals are opioids, and addict the body in similar ways.


Increasing Tolerance

One thing that is different about the opioids, though, is that each has a different strength. The body has the ability to adapt to chemicals and poisons, decreasing their influence on the body over time through a process called tolerance. While this doesn’t stem off addiction, it does make the body receive less benefit the more a chemical is used, because having that chemical becomes the body’s new normal. So if someone is popping Vicodin pills for their high, it won’t last forever. Eventually, the only way to get a high like before would be to take a stronger drug. Hence, Vicodin can lead the way to heroin, a higher-strength opioid.


If you or someone you know are looking to head off the rock bottom by getting heroin drug treatment, our Broward County addiction facility has plenty of options for detox and rehab. Contact us to learn more.


Opioids and the Effects on Those Around You

It’s a common misconception that people who are addicted to substances are easy to spot. You see the stereotypes of dirty, disheveled people shivering in a alley corner, but in reality anyone could be addicted to a chemical substance. However, just because not everyone who takes drugs is of a single type, there are certain traits of users that are often shared in common. The damage a person does to themselves is painful to those around them, and victimize those who care about them just as much as the user themselves. People who turn to opioids, in particular, can be some of the most painful to be around when you care about their well-being.


Pain Beyond the Physical

It’s painful to see people who you care about in pain and need, and addiction is a special kind of wound that often can’t be seen except by those who look carefully. In fact, for a long time opioids were prescribed left and right to people who requested them.

As powerful painkillers, opioids were often prescribed for any kind of pain, spreading them throughout the population. However, these pills don’t necessarily get consumed the way they’re supposed to. What was once a medication to alleviate pain would be consumed to just deal with the labors of everyday life. And so, slowly, the user’s loved ones would become more and more aware of the sickness slipping in.


As a Loved One Struggles

Being present to see a loved one addicted to a substance can lead to symptoms of their own. Post traumatic stress disorder is a very real consequence of trying to push back against the encroachment of drugs on a loved one and being unable to stop it.

Depression, too, is common among loved ones of addicts. Being unable to save someone, even from something non-fatal like addiction, is a very painful thing. However, this doesn’t mean giving up hope. Just as addicts can be saved through drug rehab in South Florida, so too can their loved ones. Either way, it is not wrong to hope.

Staying Drug Free After Rehab

No one sets out to fail at what they try earnestly to do. It is important to remember that the main goal of quitting drug dependence is to make the addict’s life better. Relapsing after going through withdrawal from oxycodone, heroin, alcohol, or any other substance can be one of the most damaging events that could happen for any addict trying to improve their lives.

Depending on the kind of drug and the particulars of the person addicted to the substance, their lives can be very difficult. When a person has a chemical reliance on substances, then that begins to take over their lives. So what happens when that person tries going back to their old life?


Without Help

Attempting to stay drug-free after detoxing is a difficult process. Even though the body is not necessarily dependent on the chemical anymore, the mind remembers how it felt. Altered states are very memorable experiences, and remembering how good it felt, compared to how it feels at the moment they’re remembering it, can be a great temptation.

Speaking of temptations, most people after rehab will be going back to their lives in some way or another, and in that old life are the reasons and methods the former addict got addicted in the first place. There are people who they met, old dealers and pushers who can spot a target, that have an interest in making that former business client relapse into addiction. That’s no reason to abandon one’s old life, or to desperately abandon what they once knew, but it can be difficult.


Ways to Help

Of course, there are ways to combat this without resorting to cutting your bridges and running. At drug clinics, there are many options for post-rehab care that will make readjusting to the patient’s new life easier. There are support groups that will often use rehabs as a recruitment center or meeting place, and the rehab clinic staff will usually know who and where to find that sort of help. If support groups are not the patient’s way to go, then repeat visits to the clinic for advice and a friendly face also can help.


To learn more about rehab options in South Florida and what to do after rehab is over, contact us at (866) 319-6126.

You CAN Return to a Sober Lifestyle – Here’s How

Detox and Rehab aren’t Necessary, But…

If you have a problem with alcohol or drug addiction, there is a good chance that you have heard from either your friends or some media source that going through rehab and / or detox is only a waste of time. However, the statistics behind rehab speaks for itself when a large majority of people who go through rehab end up not using those drugs again.

Conversely, when people attempt to quit using a substance on their own, they are far more likely to relapse or immediately continue abusing alcohol or drugs again. Much of this is because the detox portion of rehab, where the patient’s only focus is on getting the drugs physically out of their system, can be rather difficult. For example, going through oxycodone withdrawal symptoms without someone there to help or when you have to handle other tasks can be painful and near impossible – our rehab center will let you relax as much as possible in a quiet and safe environment with an experienced staff while you purge that oxycodone -or any other drug or alcohol- from your body.

Learning to Live Sober

One of the more important things to address when it comes to returning to a sober lifestyle is what you will fill the time previously spent abusing a substance with. You might just find that you have a few hours extra available each day once you quit. And though that might sound nice to have extra free time, if you don’t fill it with something you greatly increase your relapse risk. In rehab, you’ll receive classes and practice on managing free time and avoiding boredom, which is especially dangerous for you if you quit using drugs or alcohol recently.

For that extra edge in ending your addiction to oxycodone, alcohol, or any other drug be it illicit or pharmaceutical, give us a call at (866) 319-6126 or contact us online.

Why Broward County is Inundated with Opioid Addiction Treatment Cases

Although there has always been drug use and abuse within Broward County, you are much more likely these days to know someone who has been afflicted with or you have found yourself with an opioid addiction. Considering the national figures, though, it would likely be rarer these days if you are an adult who does not know someone, including yourself, who has an opioid addiction in Broward County. We might understand how bad the problem is and can be, but where did it come from in the first place and why has it corresponded with a huge uptick in heroin abuse and addiction?

Beginning of the Opioid Problem

The opioid crisis in Broward County mirrors that which the country as a whole is going through. Most people now addicted to opioids began using these narcotic drugs because they received a prescription from a legitimate medical practice sometime between the mid 90s and 2000s. The doctors aren’t to blame, though, as they were told that opioids are neither addictive or dangerous – that they should just throw opioids at any patient who experienced any pain, even if it was fairly minor.

And while doctors saw and reported individual cases of addiction take root, the pharmaceutical industry did nothing to dissuade over-prescribing these notoriously addictive medicines. It wasn’t until large numbers of people started dying from opioid medicines like fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and tramadol, among quite a few more that people started to take notice of how dangerous they are. By then, there was a legitimate crisis of addiction that’d spread nationwide.

The Real “Gateway” Drug

When politicians started to take notice of the opioid problem was when they realized how easily they led to heroin use, which has a massively negative stigma attached to it. That came about because heroin and opioid medications have very similar effects, but heroin has become substantially cheaper than its pharmaceutical relatives.

If you’re looking for help entering an opioid or heroin drug treatment program in Broward County, contact us for more information or to schedule a meeting with one of our addiction specialists.